Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PACER and well formed outcomes

Following on from my last post I was chatting to Steph about objectives and she mentioned a technique she uses in NLP called PACER.

This is a way of producing well formed outcomes that go beyond goal setting

I think that the technique of PACER can be adapted to goal setting and may give you an alternative way of thinking about what you want to achieve.

So here is my quick 5 minute guide to PACER.

P – Positively stated
NLP is very big on positive language with the assertion that the human mind is unable to process the word 'not' at an unconscious level. Ever been told not to do something and then had that compulsion to do it?
So if you're outcome is set in the negative "I am NOT going to eat chocolate", the mind will make the association "I AM going to eat chocolate" and bang goes lent!

When setting a goal or target it should be something that you will work positively toward rather than something you should avoid. "Stop smoking" or "losing weight" set up a negative association wher you may get more success if you focus on the positive benefits you might get out of changing your behaviour...for example "I want to be a non-smoker", "I want to be healthy", "I want to be a size 12", "I want to have more money"

So ask the question of yourself "What do I want instead?" and create a goal or outcome that you can work towards.

A – Achievable
Hey we all want to achieve - right? Why else would be embarking on this crazy journey!
Ask yourself, is your goal achievable?
How will you achieve it?
How will you know when you have succeeded?
How will you measure you progress?

When thinking about achievement focus on the sensory evidence that will tell you that you've succeeded.
What will you see?
What will you hear?
What will you feel?

We are sensory creatures and so success should be sensory!

C – Context
It's all about the context baby!
When defining our outcome we need to base it in our 'own reality' - sounds space aged I know...bear with me.

We want an outcome that is tangible and real, anyone can create a grand goal that is simply not achievable, to stand a chance of success we need to believe success is within our grasp.
Context is about rooting our outcome in the reality of our lives; it is an opportunity to define with whom, where and when you want this outcome and also with whom, where and when you do not want it.

This is also the stage at which to define whether there is a specific length of time that is valid for this outcome.

E – Ecological
Because we all want to be green - right?
Not quite, we're not looking at global ecology here more your personal make up.
It's important to balance what success will mean against how your life currently runs.
If I start training to run a marathon is my partner going to resent me not being in the house as often.
If I lose 3 stone in weight is my significant other going to be threatened by this?
If I smarten up my image and start applying for a new career is my boss going to get suspicious and fire me?

So have a think about who else will be effected and how will they feel?
What might the effect be upon the people around you?

You might find that you may have to give up something in order to achieve what you want.

There may also be underlying unconscious considerations that you may have to consider. Ask yourself these 4 questions when considering your goal/outcome:-

  • If you get this goal, what will you have?
  • If you get this goal, what won’t you have?
  • If you do not get this goal, what will you have?
  • If you do not get this goal, what won’t you have?

R – Resources
"Free your mind and the rest will follow"
This is an opportunity for a good bit of brainstorming around everything that you will need to support you in achieving your desired outcome.
This could be physical things, people, role models etc etc.
You should also ask yourself what you need within yourself including the qualities and skills that you already have or may need in the future.

Whether you are setting goals or outcomes PACER can be a useful tool to make sure you've considered everything in order to make success happen and it's principals can be used in conjunction with SMART.




  1. I can remember all of this fairly well with the helpful acronyms. Thus far, the SMART theory has given me things of which to think about.

  2. resources is my obstacle at the moment, but i can do PACE


  3. great advice, hard to follow, but great.

  4. Great advice, I'm going to try and change how I say things and see if it works for me. Thanks.

  5. Took a while to read but it was worth it!

  6. Once again, this is great advice. :)

  7. I sometimes resent acronyms, but things like this make me realize I shouldn't. I like the "E"cological the best.

  8. very useful thank you a lot +followed

  9. great advice. i hope i have the right reasources...

  10. useful! thanks!



  11. Great info..look forward to reading more. Im following!

  12. Mmm i like this a lot. Always best to have a system.

  13. Interesting blog. I've always wanted to do a course in NLP.


  14. Thanks for the post, really enjoyed it

  15. I can always count on you for psycho-analyzing my weak mind... Keep up the great work!

  16. i want to be rich, i want to be a non-smoker, i want to loose my dependancy on narcotics, i want a harem of hoars, i want 2 cream 2 sugar, want gravy with my fries, i want 3 pairs of white shoes, i want 9 pairs of blue suede shoes, i want to acquire everything ive ever wanted. i want more!

  17. time for me to put this to use next weekend....


  18. Yep, resources is the main obstacle. Either time or money or will.

  19. 'We are sensory creatures and so success should be sensory!' great blog dude!

  20. I like the bit about positivity and NLP.

  21. folllowing n $upporting


  22. Again your blog makes me cry because I so lack this kind of initiative... =( GOTTA SUCK IT UP! AHHH

  23. PACER - pretty awesomly credibly exceptionally RAD!

  24. okay this sounds pretty interesting! i might have to go deeper in this stuff to understand it all

  25. Pretty super awesome amazing article.

  26. Your selection of topic is very good and also well written. Thanks for sharing. I feel like all your ideas are incredible! Great job!!!
    Life Coach